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Superstitions across the globe

Superstitions, myths, and omens are common yet irrational beliefs that play a role in shaping cultures across the world. They usually arise from misinterpretation of scientific facts, urban legends and fear from the unknown. Here are some unusual superstitions that exist across different parts of the world.

Number 13

In some countries, the number 13 is considered an unlucky number. Fear of the number 13 push many people to use another way of numbering or labelling to avoid the number and keep away bad luck. In Italy, on the contrary, the number 13 is considered a lucky one. Anything related to the number 13 is believed to bring prosperity. Instead, the number 17 is believed to be a bad omen. Is there a scientific proof for that?

The Four-Leaf Clover

The four-leaf clover or shamrock is believed to protect people from evil spells and bring good fortune. The four leaves represent hope, faith, love, and luck to the finder. Some believe that in ancient Egypt, when people were getting married, they would be given a four-leaf clover as a sign of a blessed union and a representation of their undying love. Another common belief during the Middle Ages was that a person who has the rare four-leaf clover would have the ability to see fairies. So, consider yourself very lucky if you found one.


Many societies and cultures view owls as a symbol of bad luck, ill-health, or even death. If one sees an owl or hears its hoot, that means someone is going to die. People in East Africa believe that owls bring illness to children, while the Zulu people of South Africa believe that the owl is the witchdoctors’ bird. Greeks and Romans believed witches could turn themselves into owls and come to suck the blood of babies. Does anybody still think that owls are cute?

Whistling indoors

For Russians and Slovaks, whistling indoors brings misfortune and loss of money. From this belief comes the Russian proverb “whistling money away.” This superstition emerged as it was believed that evil spirits communicate with each other by whistling. A person whistling would call evil spirits into the house, bringing along all sorts of bad luck. In Estonia, people believe that whistling indoors may even set the house on fire.


The horseshoe is considered very lucky and is hung in many houses to protect and attract good fortune for the family residing inside. Horseshoes are also considered lucky because they were made by blacksmiths, which was considered a very lucky trade. Because they worked with elemental fire and magical iron, they were thought to have special powers.


Another common lucky charm? Goldfish in different cultures are considered the harbingers of prosperity, growth, wealth, power, long life, wisdom, and peace. They are kept in bowls or ponds to bring good luck in homes and workplaces. As one of the eight sacred symbols of Buddha, goldfish are symbolic of abundance, fertility, and harmony in life.


Many people believe that rainbows are symbols for good luck. They are believed to bring good fortune. In Irish mythology, if one finds the end of the rainbow, they will find a nice big pot of gold.


The ladybug is a universal symbol of good luck. Different cultures all over the world have long considered it to be a harbinger of prosperity. It is believed that the landing of a live ladybug on you or wearing a ladybug talisman will free you from all problems and make your wishes come true.

Cutting your nails at night

Cutting one’s nails at night is one of the major bad luck signs, especially in Asian countries. It is considered to bring anomalies in your life. This is connected to a belief that separating your nail from your body at night might attract evil spirits. Thus, this hygienic act can be scary as it is an open invitation to evil spirits. Thus, cleansing yourself is not an option at night for many people.

Never miss the chance to know more about superstitions around the world, for they will tell you more about people’s different cultures and beliefs.


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